No Matter What

“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones that would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what.” (source unknown)

Angel, Well member

Members of The Well Community know these thoughts to be so very true. And being at “home for the holidays” means many different things to our members. Because of stigma, homelessness and other challenges that often come with mental illnesses, some of our members have learned to develop family units with people who understand and share their lived experiences. Some do live with their family of origin, while others live with siblings or with a spouse. And as described below, some live together as members of The Well. Continue reading

Praying for Families Impacted by Mental Illness

The following is posted with permission from the Sparks of Redemptive Grace website. This prayer guide is available for purchase as a booklet or e-book.

31 days, 31 ways, 2 pray 4 families

By Catherine P. Downing

“Pray for us.” 1 Thessalonians 5:25a ESV

Families who walk alongside their loved ones in the labyrinths of mental illnesses are often hesitant to ask for prayer. They might feel others will judge them or their loved one, offer uninformed advice or initiate the gossip chain. But friends who observe or are aware of their journey don’t necessarily need specific details to pray effectively.

Families ALWAYS need God’s provision for themselves and their loved ones in these areas: Continue reading

Spiritual Problems Require Spiritual Solutions

File photo taken pre-COVID-19

By Joel Pulis, Founder of The Well Community

In the earlier years of The Well Community, I regularly heard stories from my friends about how they had been made to feel unwelcome at various churches. Anne, a preacher’s kid, shared how she would sit outside of Sunday morning services, unable to make herself go in because she was certain that the congregation would never welcome a person struggling with mental illness. Joan told me how she was escorted out of a Sunday school class and told to never return. And Durwin wasn’t even allowed to attend his own family’s place of worship just a few blocks down the street from our building! With each account, my calling to start a spiritual community for adults living with serious and disabling mental illness became more and more justified.  Continue reading

An Alignment of Values

Ged Dipprey (left) with Linda Ward and Sam Vachon from Good Deed Real Estate Group

Ged Dipprey is an affable neighbor with a mind for real estate and a heart for members of The Well Community, who live with life-altering mental illnesses. Ged’s family, including his wife, Lori, and two children, have been supporters of The Well for several years. His business, the Good Deed Real Estate Group, which includes Oak Cliff residents Sam Vachon and Linda Ward, also partners financially with The Well. Continue reading

A Firsthand Understanding: Lessons About Mental Health During COVID-19

May is Mental Health Awareness month. We want to help you become more informed, not only about severe mental illnesses faced by our members, but also about how the stresses of COVID-19 can impact your mental health and what you can do about it.

While the mental health ramifications of COVID-19 make this pandemic a crisis in and of themselves, there is a benefit hidden within this monumental challenge: Our society as a whole is becoming more aware of mental health on a personal level and more open to talking about it. As a growing number of people wrestle with their mental health—some for the first time—our culture is gaining understanding of what those living with mental illnesses face day after day, year after year. Below are key lessons that will help shape the future of the conversation around mental health for the better. Continue reading

Mental Illness and Poverty: Magnifying Challenges in Times of Crisis

Health crises like the coronavirus pandemic impact us all. But, those who live with serious mental illnesses face unique challenges in times like this. Not only can uncertainty and fear trigger worsening of symptoms, but lack of access to things like healthy food, shelter and medical care can lead to a higher risk of illness.

The poverty faced by many who deal with life-altering mental health conditions plays a major role in magnifying the challenges of health crises. Below are several ways that those living with mental illnesses are especially impacted by lack of resources in times like these. Continue reading

Talking About Stigma With Michelle Staubach Grimes

Last year on World Mental Health Day, when Michelle Staubach Grimes, daughter of Dallas Cowboys legend Roger Staubach and author of two popular children’s books, saw several people speaking out online about the difficulty of dealing with mental illness, she decided to do the same. It was an easy decision, she says, because she had little to lose, and she wanted to help normalize mental illness for the sake of those who are often stigmatized for it. While Michelle has struggled with mental health challenges since childhood—particularly acute anxiety and depression—until then she’d kept her struggles private. Continue reading

Serving The Well Through an Administrative Social Work Internship: Valencia Jefferson

Administrative social work intern Valencia with two Well Community members

Over and over, we see how internships at The Well Community truly benefit interns and members alike. University of Southern California Master of Social Work intern Valencia Jefferson has experienced these two-way rewards while attending to the behind-the-scenes tasks at The Well.

While working toward a master’s degree in social work with a concentration in administration at the University of Southern California (USC), Valencia Jefferson realized she would need to complete an internship before graduation. She asked her professors for a recommendation, and they pointed her in the direction of The Well Community, which had an opening for a graduate social work intern at the time. Valencia had grown up in the Dallas area, so spending a year in Oak Cliff seemed a good fit. She interviewed at The Well last spring, and for the past eight months has been working there as a graduate social work intern with an administrative focus. Continue reading

Internships at The Well: Benefiting Students and Members

Director Alice Zaccarello, Ericka Ruiz and Gemma Cardenas, with UTA interns

Program Coordinator Gemma Cardenas understands the benefits of The Well Community’s internship program firsthand, not only from her role in supervising the students who participate, but from her own time as an intern. “It gave me the opportunity to apply everything that I had learned at school,” she recalls, adding that serving at The Well was vastly different from merely hearing about mental health in a classroom. “I learned so much from being here, so much more than from a textbook. It gave me a lot of confidence as well.” Continue reading